John Townshend, 5th Marquess Townshend
Townshend was the son of John Townshend, 4th Marquess Townshend, and Elizabeth Jane Crichton-Stuart. The soldier George Townshend, 1st Marquess Townshend, was his paternal great-grandfather, and Prime Minister John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute, was his maternal great-grandfather. He was elected to the House of Commons for Tamworth in 1855 (succeeding his father), a seat he held until 1863, when he inherited the marquessate on his father's death and entered the House of Lords.
At the Salisbury Petty Sessions in May 1881, Lord Edward Thynne described how he had been accosted by Lord Townshend and two accomplices on the road between Laverstock and Salisbury. A Colonel Nepean held the pony's head while Townshend struck him several times with the handle of a horse whip. Thynne acknowledged having eloped with Lady Townshend in 1872, but noted that the Marquis had never sued for divorce, and alleged that Lord Macduff had attacked him over the same matter while he was abroad.
Townshend was convicted of the assault, and sentenced to a fine of £500 or three months in prison. After some hours in jail, he reluctantly paid the fine, equivalent to £44,000 in 2015. Townshend denounced the court, while Vanity Fair reported unnamed others as saying "the only regret is that he [Thynne] was not thrashed earlier and worse".
Lord Townshend married Lady Anne Elizabeth Clementina Duff, daughter of James Duff, 5th Earl Fife, on 17 October 1865. Their children included:
- John James Dudley Stuart Townshend, 6th Marquess Townshend (1866–1921)
- Agnes Elizabeth Audrey Townshend (1870–1955), married James Cunningham-Durham and had issue
Lord Townshend died in October 1899, aged 68, and was succeeded in his titles by his son John. Lady Townshend died in 1925.
- "The Assault on Lord Edward Thynne". The Times (30209) (London: The Times Digital Archive). 1 June 1881. p. 7. Retrieved 17 May 2014.
- UK CPI inflation numbers based on data available from Gregory Clark (2014), "What Were the British Earnings and Prices Then? (New Series)" MeasuringWorth.
- F. M. L. Thompson (May 2006). Townshend, John Villiers Stuart, fifth Marquess Townshend (1831–1899). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press). Retrieved 17 May 2014.
- Kidd, Charles, Williamson, David (editors). Debrett's Peerage and Baronetage (1990 edition). New York: St Martin's Press, 1990.
- Leigh Rayment's Peerage Pages [self-published source][better source needed]
- Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs [self-published source][better source needed]
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by the Marquess Townshend
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